Four Weddings and a Death at a Funeral
Directed by veteran comic filmmaker Frank Oz (Bowfinger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Little Shop of Horrors) ‘Death At A Funeral‘ is a modern take on the British screwball movie. A fast-paced farce in the mold of ‘A Fish Called Wanda‘, it throws in a little ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral‘ and some Farrelly Brothers style gross-out gags. Toilet humour is by no-means new to British comedy, but certain comic set-pieces in the film feel contrived to appeal to a younger audience raised on the likes of ‘There’s Something About Mary‘. In fact, the recent gross-out comedy genre may have run its course, and this film seems to have jumped onto the bandwagon a little too late.
The result is a curious, sometimes self-conscious mix of twee English class comedy (the film positively reeks of Hugh Grant even though he doesn’t feature in it), nods to modern screwball masters like Mel Brookes, and something for the ‘You, Me and Dupree’ generation. Personally, I can live with the latter two homages, but there is only so much I can stand of toffs saying ‘fuck’ as if its ever so shocking for a British person – ‘Four Weddings’ has a lot to answer for.
For me, Death At A Funeral is an outsider’s take on British comedy – made by and for foreigners who identify with a particular sterotype of Englishness. There’s nothing American audiences like better than to see us ridicule our own class pretentions and stiffness. It is this stereotype that non-British people feel most comfortable with, which might explain the popularity of comedies like ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ in the States. Well, who am I to complain? I watched this in the cinema in France and the audience loved it. I just wish we could export more of our best alternative comedy. Simon Pegg has found international success, but we are spoilt for like-minded talent.